Focusing on the Lazy One: Matthew 25:14-30

Focus Passage: Matthew 25:14-30 (NLT)

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Read Matthew 25:14-30 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In this journal entry’s passage/parable, a powerful challenge is given regarding our perspective on life. While most people simply think of this parable praising the two resourceful and talented servants, it also reveals something significant about how important our perspective is – both our perspective of God, and our perspective of His gifts.

The best reflection of this perspective comes from an unlikely source: the third, lazy servant. While the first two servants are praised, less space is reserved to discuss these resourceful servants than the third, unresourceful one. Four verses (verses 20-23) share the master’s response to both resourceful servants, but the third servant receives four verses just for the dialog (verses 24-27) and two of the last three verses entirely to him as well.

This detail regarding focus is important. It tells me that more people will likely struggle with being a third servant than being a five-bag or two-bag one, and that we can learn more from the mistakes of the third servant than from the successes of the first two.

A simple reading of this parable reveals that the third servant saw things differently. Verses 16-18 tell what each servant did with the money entrusted to him: “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

The first servant invested, the second servant worked, while the third servant hid. The first two servants saw this money as a blessing, an opportunity, and a responsibility. The third servant saw the money as a curse, an unreasonable test, and probably as unfair. He might have thought something like: “Well, I could definitely do something great with two or three bags of silver, but one bag is not enough.” Or he may have been observant to how much the other servants were given and upset that he received the least, thinking to himself “It’s not fair.”

The third servant’s perspective was different. The second servant received less than half of the first, but still had the same positive perspective. This means that perspective is as important as ability – maybe even more important. Any increase is better than no increase, and even if the money was spent on a poor investment, if knowledge increased, then the master may still have considered the test a success.

A fearful, inactive, lazy third-servant perspective is opposite to what God wants from us. He wants to be able to bless us in ways that double or triple the blessing’s effectiveness. This is only possible with a positive outlook on life, a positive view of our ability, and a right perspective regarding the Gift-Giver.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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